2012 Employee Wellness Programs: Overcome HIPAA, COBRA, and ADA Hurdles

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In today’s uncertain economic climate, both organizations and employees are scrambling to contain their respective health care expenses. As a result, the workplace wellness program has rapidly become a tool that both are using to reduce medical costs. Unfortunately, employers don't realize that wellness programs are subject to a number of federal and state laws that regulate the design and 
implementation of such programs.

One example to consider is state-based smoker protection laws, which can impact employers who offer smoker cessation programs. Recently, an employee of Scotts Miracle-Gro sued the company after he was 
fired for failing a nicotine-screening test. Scotts has a smoke-free policy and enforces it by screening employees.

Because wellness programs can often lead to legal pitfalls, it is necessary for you to understand the impact that laws pertaining to wellness programs have on your organization so you can avoid 
lawsuits and still provide your employees with incentives that promote a healthier lifestyle.